Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Profiling of a Perfect Sales Professional

A perfect stereotypical profile of a sales professional does not exist.  Hiring by a stereo-type will lead to low productivity and expensive high turn-over. A perfect profile exists only when the predominant or predictable themes in a person's personality match (or fit) the profile of the job, product, clients and culture.

In this Harvard Business Review article, Philip Delves Broughton author of The Art of the Sale, reveals how a variety of different profiles can lead to a successful sales career depending upon the "dynamics between personality, self-perception, and role".  Broughton acknowledges that there are "underlying traits in every good salesperson — notably optimism and tenacity — which lead to resilience in the face of the adversity".  But beyond that, what enables a salesperson to succeed is that they've found a match between who they are and what they are being required to do.  Sales success comes "when sales feels normal and natural."

Philip Delves Broughton also authored the New York Times Best Seller, Ahead of the CurveIn this June 27th, 2012 HBR article, he describes a variety different personalities and why they can be successful in sales.  He writes;

"Some people are wooers, compelled to win over everyone they meet in an instant. They do well in jobs where they must close a lot of transactions every day and where long-term trust is not important. Others prefer to build networks of deep relationships over time. They might prefer selling products or services with long sales cycles and repeated interactions with the same customer. Some salespeople will be coin-operated, motivated entirely by commission and competition with their peers. Others put a higher value on the friendships they develop in sales and the opportunity to work in a field they enjoy, selling products and services they believe in. Some love selling for the pure thrill of it. Others sell as the means to getting what they really want, whether it is popularity, financial security or creative freedom."
Hiring by intuition or resume history can be a disaster waiting to happen.  Behavioural or personality profiles are valuable tools in the hiring process.   But Broughton (and I) believe that personality profiling is only valuable when there is a job and company profile to match.

There are dozens of popular tools used by Canadian employers.  Some popular personality, behaviour and psychometric instruments include:  DISC, McQuaig Systems, Thomas International, Pro.file Performance Systems, EIQ, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), Firo B, IPAT (the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, Inc.) 16PF, Thomas Kilman Conflict Mode, Innovation Potential Indicator, Benchmarks and Skillscope (just to name a few).

Which tools do you use in hiring sales professionals?  Why?  Tells us about your experience?

Steve Jones
Sales, Leadership, Management & Business Consultant
linkedin: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/stevejonesdg  

twitter: https://twitter.com/Jones4staffing  
blog: http://stevejones-staffingleadership.blogspot.ca


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